Thursday 25 September 2014

Yellow (Ryan Haysom, 2012) DVD Review

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“One Hunter. One Killer.” During the 1970s and 80s it was boom time for Italian cinema, and one of its most popular and enduring creations was the “giallo” film. “Giallo” means “Yellow”, which was the colour of the covers for lurid murder mystery paperbacks. A few cinematic highlights of the genre include: What Have You Done To Solange?, The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, Tenebrae, and The Case of the Bloody Iris. Such was the effectiveness of giallo, they went on to inspire the slasher film. Come the 1990s however, the giallo movement ground to a halt, but in recent years there has been a resurgence of the form – the 'neo-giallo'. Films such as Tulpa, Sonno Profondo, and The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears have shown that there is still a distinct taste for killers clad in black leather, gleaming razors, and beautiful victims.

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“I have sinned again.” Also part of this new-found neo-giallo movement is Yellow – a 26 minute short film from Future Past Films – which has earned comparisons to Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn) and the work of Michael Mann. Set amidst the perpetual neon night-time of Berlin, the film follows a greying man who doggedly prowls the motorways and office blocks of the city, stalking his target – a leather-clad killer with a psycho-sexual modus operandi.

“You cannot stop me, you need me.” Doused in bold shades of red and turquoise, or harsh fluorescent whites, Yellow is a visually striking piece of filmmaking (cinematography by Jon Britt). Making effective use of formal framing, Antoni Maiovvi's ominous electronic score, and some choice locations (an underground complex with orange pillars is a stand out), Ryan Haysom confidently captures the gorgeous design and artistry that helped define the genre in the seventies.

“There will be another.” It's not all gleaming reflections and slow-burn dissolves though, as the film brandishes some remarkably effective gore set pieces. From a sliced eyeball that references that of the infamous Un Chien Andalou (1929) to a brutal scissor stabbing, Yellow balances beauty and brutality. Featuring minimal dialogue, the film (written by Haysom and Britt) drags us into the loneliness of the city at night – of the hunter's existence – and refuses to let us go. Crafted with precision and a genuine love of gialli, fans of the genre would do well to seek out this delicious treat.

“We are one and the same, hunters in the night.” The DVD features crisp audio and video (it was shot on a Canon 5DII), although there is some stutter evident on occasion (such as in the opening shot that glides overhead the city). Extras wise there is a lobby card, stills gallery of behind the scenes photos, a range of subtitles, teaser trailers, and a festival trailer (which is followed by a hidden trailer for Tulpa). Boasting fantastic cover art by Graham Humphreys, you can purchase the DVD (limited to 666 copies) or a DVD & VHS combo release (limited to 66 copies) by visiting – you'll be glad you did.

Update: Also note that "Yellow" appears as an extra feature on Arrow Video's excellent Blu-Ray release of Mario Bava's superb 1964 giallo Blood and Black Lace.

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